tv CNN Newsroom CNN March 15, 2011 3:00pm-5:00pm EDT
world, should continue to develop and use nuclear power. needless to say there was the normal kneejerk reactions that didn't seem to take into account the new nuances of the crisis japan is experiencing. the fact is that the idea of more nuclear energy was just starting to gain ground in the united states, given the interest in clean, abundant and cheap energy. that nuclear renaissance in america is now in danger. right now one-fifth of america's electricity comes from 104 nuclear reactors. they're expensive. companies were loathed to build them, given the tangle of regulations so the federal government offered loan guarantees to get operators to invest their money. president obama is asking for $36 billion for nuclear power in this year's proposed budget. 12 applications right now for construction and licenses. but real safety issues during unforeseen catastrophic events like what happened in japan will have to be addressed by the industry. we still need alternatives to oil and coal, but we'll have to
see whether more nuclear generated electricity is part of our future. that's it for me now. brooke baldwin takes over with "newsroom". we are going to take you to libya. we'll take you to egypt, even texas over the course of the next two hours. first, it's wednesday morning in japan where aftershocks continue to rattle buildings and nerves as well. listen. >> oh, my god. oh, my god. oh, oh, oh! oh, my god. >> that is an ireport from tuesday in yokohama, south of tok tokyo. that is far from friday's epicent epicenter. north of there in fumeshima, the biggest concern is the tlets of that meltdown, maybe even meltdowns at daiichi nuclear power plant. the amount of radiation spiked when the number two reactor exploded late tuesday. but we're told levels are back down now. much more on that in just a
moment. also, as the search for survivors continues on land, look at this image. do you see what's in the midst of that water? i believe it's a home here. this is a photo captured by the crew on board the "uss ronald reagan," the aircraft carrier looking for survivors at sea. that is a lone house adrift in the pacific. today the american red cross made an initial pledge of $10 million in aid. but that's just a fraction of what's needed there in japan. japan's combined quake/tsunami tragedy is estimated to go down as the most expensive disaster ever. with well more than $100 billion in damage. but i want to get back to the nuclear crisis that cascaded today across the stricken power plant. let me try to explain this. back to this morning, there was a blast. you see the different reactors, one through four? number two is where the blast was this morning. we focused on this yesterday because it had lost its cooling
capabilities. today you have the explosion and now the possible danger here, the damage, this thing called the containment vessel that is basically what contains the reactor's core. and that is key. also, later today a fire broke out at reactor number four. let's remember number four was actually shut down for maintenance before the tsunami even hit so now this one has problems and there are also fears of problems at reactors five, reactor six. and they were also closed for maintenance. what's the story there? we'll get to the bottom of that. hold on because we're not through here. the biggest new problem, i haven't even gotten to that yet, maybe the one involving spent fuel rods being stored in these cooling pools on site. apparently they're getting dangerously hot. that's where i want to begin with chad myers. chad, if we read the sort of different iterations of issues at these different nuclear reactors. these are from what i understand spent rods. >> correct. >> so used rods. >> correct. >> still hot, still radioactive. >> yes.
cooling down so they can be put away forever. now, the french recycle all of their rods. they don't have very much when it comes to bad rods, to take them underground. the japanese leave their rods -- is my microphone on? >> i don't know. let's check the microphone. >> there we go. >> fuel rods. >> the fuel rods in america are taken away from the site. in japan, the fuel rods are left at the site. >> on the roof? >> well, kind of in a pool inside the containment building. the pool is used to keep them under water. well, if the water has beenen leaving because the pumps aren't working we believe that's why the number four unit had a fire, because those rods, even though they weren't hot, they were spent, old, done, they weren't being cooled properly. i don't think they even worried about number four because they were worried about one through
three. all of a sudden, one through three were running at the time, four not, five, six not. here's one, two, three. one, the top is blown off, three the top blew off. two right here had an explosion that still seems to be intact, but they're telling us that they're concerned about the containment vessel, which is this hardened steel, concrete reinforced thing. that's our last layer of protection. >> that's what's containing all of these uranium-enriched rods, correct? so that's potential bad, bad news. >> we don't want that to happen. that would be very bad. now, i don't believe there's a big crack in it yet because when the radiation spiked today during the fire at four because of the rods that were being stored there caught on fire, they put the fire out, but the radiation did spike. the radiation did go back down again. if this explosion earlier would have really cracked that containment vessel, the radiation would still be high.
this would be the end of the -- the beginning of the end to that number two. >> apparently it was pushed to something like 167 times the average annual dose of laid yai radiation. we have an expert coming up. what about in terms of radius? they extend the radius, to 30 kilometers, 18, 19 miles. is that right? >> it is. radiation can go in all directions. if we get the big one here, then radiation is going to go everywhere. but it does get blown by the wind a bit. right now the wind is from the north here. finally we had that change in direction. all day and all night until the overnight hours, now just beginning to get morning there, the wind had been blowing onshore, blowing back toward where the people lived. and some radiation did go there. radiation did spike in tokyo. not bad. 26 times a normal day. normal day is very low because that's what comes in on the
sunshine. so no big deal, but they did see the spike there. they did see some radiation come in. now the radiation will be all blown away and this is all kind of brought in on the sides of the moisture particles and dust particles flying around the atmosphere. if we keep the wind offshore, and it looks like the case for three days, that will reduce the danger of the radiation going back toward the cities and blowing out into the pacific. people say, wait, pacific? that's us. we're next. by the time it gets to america, unless this is a major thing, it's very far. the iscsotopes will reduce themself to mostly nothing. >> they don't seem to catch a break. >> if this goes to chernobyl, it's a completely different story. >> chad myers, thank you. the other piece of the story here, actually, check out this new video. it shows a road, cracking wide open during friday's quake. we're going to have more images
we'll share with you when we come back. also, you know, you've seen the images of cars just tossed around, swept away by the force of those waves. you see a car there in the thig of things during the tsunami. now we're learning about a man who was inside of one of those cars. we'll hear his survival story, next.
japan showing the brute force of the earthquake and tsunami four days ago. many of the pictures are startling, unsettling and others are just sort of eerie. it's almost like watching the earth open up beneath your feet. take a look at this video from chiba. >> this is the other end of the road that i just video'd. you can see the damage. this is the -- >> now i want to replay you video that we showed you yesterday, and this is important. you're going to see why in just a moment. first i want you to watch this with me. >> you see the tsunami wave, it's carrying what looks like an entire building, this entire structure along with debris and
cars. imagine being caught up in this tremendous rush of water. it happened to one man. it is from my colleague, his story, from dr. sanjay gupta. >> reporter: the images are tough to watch. but as i learned, the stories are even harder to hear. you see those cars being tossed around like toys? well, this man, iaboshi, was in one of them and he lived to tell about it. so you were looking out your windshield and you saw the water coming. >> yes. >> reporter: he tried to escape, but it was too late. over and over, i was hit, he said. and then his car flooded. he was slowly drowning so he tried to smash the window with his right hand. finally, he got the car to open, but the water pinned the door back on his hips and his leg. mr. iaboshi doesn't know how he was saved. the next thing he remembered was pulling up in the ambulance to
soka hospital. as you might imagine, triage is a big deal at this hospital. here they basically categorize paishlts into four categories immediately. green, relatively minor injury, yellow if it's more serious, red if it's more serious and black if the patient had died. when mr. iaboshi came in, he was considered a red. critically injured, his life was now in the hands of dr. nasaki. it's important to point out that dr. sasaki hasn't left the hospital since the earthquake. he's head of the emergency room. day after day, saka hospital stayed open with dr. sasaki in charge, taking care of hundreds of patients. in japan, near drownings and cardiac arrests are the most common serious injury seen, followed by head and crush injuries. dr. sasaki has been here since friday. i want to give you an idea of just how busy the busiest
hospitals have been after the earthquake and tsunami, 600 patients seen, 79 remain, 13 have died. watching iaboshi closely, it is clear he is haunted by what happened to him. the tsunami robbed him of just about everything. in fact, you're look gt at all he has left. but then a rare smile, and he tells me almost in disbelief, i am still alive. >> wow. what a story. sanjay, of course, still in japan alongside anderson cooper. they'll be going live for a special "ac 360," starting 11:00 a.m. eastern. please watch along with us. also a lot of talk here about international aid. here's a perfect example of the international relief supplies now arriving in japan. in fact, this shipment is from china. but dozens of countries are rushing food and aid as fast as working airstrips can accommodate all of these different flights.
just today alone, crews working from the aircraft carrier "uss ronald reagan" delivered some 17 tons of food and drinking water and blankets. as far as people are concerned here, urban search and rescue teams from 15 countries, including the united states, are there working diligently on the ground in japan. they're combing through these different piles of rubble, pieces of homes, buildings there where homes used to stand. and a lot of you have also tweeted and asked, are there dog s is? yes, especially trained dogs are sniffing for any signs of life. coming up here on cnn "newsroom," with three explosions at the fumeshima daiichi nuclear plant in japan, the problem getting worse. how far are we from the worst-case scenario? i will ask a nuclear expert coming up in a moment. also, just last year president obama said, we need to build more nuclear power plants in the united states in the wake of the gulf oil disaster.
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years? but president obama has been hoping to turn that around. today his energy secretary was asked whether we are still going forward. take a listen. >> anytime a terrible natural disaster or even human-caused disaster occurs, you always go back and you look and you improve. and so we still feel that we should go back and look and improve this, but i still feel there's -- it's probably premature to say anything except we will learn from this. >> so i can't quite tell if that was a yes or no. could you? jessica yellin, national political correspondent, maybe you know. where does the obama administration stand on all of this? i mean, are they still going ahead with the loan guarantees to build new nuclear plants. >> on those loan guarantees, yes, they're still standing. there is significant pressure
from the energy industry to move ahead with these plants. despite japan, the case is that the u.s. needs more energy sources and we could build in areas without seismic activity, unlike japan and with more modern designs. there seemed to be growing acceptance of a nuclear future in the u.s. until now. so given what's happened in japan, no doubt voters are going to be a little more wary. you can see why anti-nuclear credit icks would have new wind in their stale sails. >> it makes sense people are looking closer at this. i want to go back to march. we'll listen to the president here unveiled his long-awaited plan for u.s. energy independence. >> for decades wooe've talked about how our dependence on foreign econoforeign oil affect economy. we hope our new energy policy underscores the seriousness with which my administration takes
this challenge. >> so we saw the date, march 31st. t talk about timing, jessica. we know what happened three weeks later, that oil rig blew up in the gulf of mexico. so that obviously put a bit of a kink in the president's plan as he mentioned to expand oil drilling. and now we have this nuclear crisis unfolding in japan. that's given folks, as you mentioned, another set of serious doubts. same time, something not terribly unusual. you have all the instability in the middle east, gas prices going up and up and up. so, jessica, do we or don't we have an energy policy? >> well, we have a stated policy. in the state of the union, president obama called for the u.s. to get 80% of our energy from clean energy sources, including nuclear, within 25 years and he's also pushed for investing in alternative energy. but critics say it's not a consistent plan and republicans slam the program saying that the president is driving up or helping to drive up the cost of
gas in this country because they say he is not supporting enough drilling here in the u.s. drilling for oil. here's possible republican presidential candidate and mississippi governor haley barbour on that point. >> this administration's policies have been designed to drive up the cost of energy in the name of reducing pollution, in the name of making very expensive alternative fuels more economically competitive. >> so, brooke, we've heard congressional republicans say the same thing he just said. what they're not telling you is that, even leading energy industry officials admit that given like 20 years' time, u.s. drilling will not amount to more than 1% of global energy use. in other words, opening up more drilling here, not enough to fix the problem on its own. you need a bigger policy that's compromise. >> jessica yellin for me in
washington, thank you. and as we continue our conversation, i know you're engaged, are following all the developments at the fukushima daiichi plant, explosions, fires, efforts to prevent a meltdown. 100 hours of drama unfolding at this one power plant. and when i come back, i'll walk you through exactly what has happened up to this point. we'll talk possible worst-case scenario. and i'll be speaking to a cancer doctor who specializes in radiation. in fact, she chose this particular field because she survived that atomic bomb the u.s. dropped on hiroshima in 1945. today she'll tell you what the people of japan are facing. ♪
before we take you to japan, i want to show you live pictures. members of the house are voting right now to make sure the government continues to be funded. remember that resolution deadline is this friday. so they are voting to extend another three weeks to keep the funding going for the u.s. government for this fiscal 2011. we'll keep our eye on the vote and bring you the latest from capitol hill as soon as we see final numbers there. i want to talk japan and the nuclear crisis unfolding before all of our eyes here. it's hard to follow to start with and then it changes a bit each and every hour, every day. you hear the explosion here, you hear about an explosion there, here, for example, you have four different reactors of we've been watching at the fukushima
daiichi plant. watch this time line. >> reporter: a 9.0 earthquake hits off japan's coast friday. the fukushima daiichi nuclear power plant is located in one of the hardest hit areas. the quake and tsunami knocked out regular and backup cooling systems to reactors one and three. workers begin injecting sea water and boron into the reactors to prevent a meltdown. saturday afternoon a hydrogen buildup leads to an explosion, blowing the roof off the number one reactor building. four workers are hurt. midday monday, another explosion tears through the reactor number three building. the roof and top walls are destroyed. 11 people are hurt. late monday, reactor number two loses its cooling capability. workers begin injecting sea water and boron into that reactor as well.
tuesday morning an explosion hits the same reactor, number two, possibly damaging its containment vessel. and later tuesday a fire breaks out at reactor number four. it had been shut down for maintenance before the quake. as of tuesday evening, the government has evacuated more than 200,000 people within a 20-kilometer radius of the plant and warned people 30 kilometers away not to go outdoors. hala gorani, cnn, atlanta. >> so that's our quick time line for you. now to the expert. joining me live from washington is robert alvarez, a senior scholar at the institute for policy studies. he's been involved in the nuclear power issue for decades both as a government official and as an analyst. robert, thank you for copping on because we want to talk through all of these issues at these different reactors. i want to begin with something we can't see on this image, the issue with the fuel rods. there are reports that these spent rods, used rods, they're
heating up in this storage pool within one of the rooms of these reactor facilities. when you hear that, how loudly do alarm bells go off and how much does it worsen the situation? >> well, it's something that we have to be very concerned about because the spent fuel has to also be cooled. it's the cooling of the spent fuel is nowhere near as urgent as the reactor, but if something were to happen to cause the spent fuel pool to lose its water, these are pools that are several stories above ground and are not under the containment -- the big, thick, heavy reactor containment that you have with the reactor vessel itself. so if something were to happen to compromise the integrity of the pool wall or the structure,
causing it to crack and leak, then drainage becomes a concern. and once the fuel is partially exposed -- and this could take a while -- the fuel will basically catch fire. the zirconium, the metal that clads the fuel will get so hot that it will catch fire and will then large amounts of radiation will be released into the environment. and, as you see in the photograph here, reactor number 3, it looks to me that the pool itself is now exposed to the sky. there's nothing there but the sky. >> so is it reactor number 3? help me. is that where the spent rods are on that particular roof? or we don't know? >> each reactor has its own spent fuel pool. >> i see. >> so reactor number 3 has a
pool that's been -- where the building that was covering it has been virtually destroyed -- >> when you hear the reports and you talk about making sure that these rods remain cool and that they're covered in water and there are now reports that in order to mitigate i guess future damage, there's reports of taking a helicopter and dumping cold water on some of these spent fuel rods, does that sound to you at all like they are grasping at straws, looking for a solution here? >> i think that -- you know, we are operating in terms of our knowledge far away under fragments of information here that are reported primarily by the japanese nuclear authorities and international atonmic energ agency. based on those pieces of information, what i get out of this is that this situation is not under control and that
they're taking what i would consider to be desperate measures to get control. and one of those measures would be having to drop water into the pool using helicopters. >> so you do describe that as desperate measures. >> absolutely. >> then you have, sir, reactor number 2. we've highlighted this because this is also the other huge concern because there are reports that the containment vessel within -- that surrounds the reactor is damaged. what are you hearing, and how bad, if that containment dome goes? >> well, there are two barriers that are designed to prevent the escape of the radioactivity in the core. there's the primary reactor vessel, which is a large steel container, that is the piece of equipment that's of grave concern right now.
and then over that is a concrete dome, a secondary containment, that's supposed to serve as an extra barrier of protection. what we don't really know or completely understand is, in reactor 2, what has been going on here and if there have been explosions and other events that have compromised the primary containment or have cracked or created problems for the secondary containment. so we're still sort of operating in a situation where i'm not sure we have a complete picture. >> right. to your point, we're piecing some of these bits of information we're getting together. >> well, not only that. the people on the site don't necessarily have a complete picture of what's going on. >> you know what? i'm glad you brought that up because i know it's a group of some 50 or so workers. robert alvarez, we're going to continue this conversation in the next hour because i have so many more questions for you,
including there are 50 or so workers likely risking their own lives here to mitigate danger for those on the ground. robert alvarez, we'll see you again prosecute the end of my show. just in, we were showing you live pictures of the house floor. the u.s. house has just passed that continuing resolution to avoid a government shutdown. this is only for another three weeks. it now has to go on to the senate. so you have to keep that in mind. coming up, she was just a baby when the atomic bomb fell on heiroshima and a couple of years later her close friend, schoolmate, died from the radiation exposure. so what did she do? she went on to become a radiation specialist, an oncology. dr. kamaki knows what the people of japan are up against. she was there right with them when the quake happened last friday. i'll be speaking with her, next.
the crisis in japan is not only a today-only emergency. experts are seriously worried about the lasting effects. places like chernobyl, nagasaki, people in those places dealing with diseases, deformity and death because of their exposure to radiation. that's the expertise of my guest, dr. komaki researches radiation oncology at the university of texas. dr. komaki, help me understand, describe the effects, potential effects, extended radiation exposure could have on one's body. >> well, the first thing we have
to be concerned is about acute effect. like my grandmother was in the city when atomic bomb was dropped in hiroshima, and she had acute effect, such as diarrhea, nosebleeding, due to bone marrow suppression and the toxicity. however, she was recovered. she was taken away from hiroshima city immediately, and then by the time she came back several month after, she recovered and she lived to like 72 years old. however, the residue, the long-term effect is the serious problem. like one of my friends, hidake
sosaki. she wdeveloped leukemia when sh was 10. >> she was a child. i would think a concern would also be on children because even lower doses of radiation could have detrimental effects on kids. >> that's correct. because they are still growing and those cells which are dividing are more sensitive to radiation. and they do get leukemia or sometimes thyroid cancer and they are more susceptible to radiation. >> i know that radiation oncology is very personal for you, as you just mentioned you grew up in hiroshima. you lost your father to cancer. you mentioned your grandmother. i want to ask you after the break, remembering the days and weeks and years after the bomb and how today's possible radiation contamination would be all too familiar for people today in japan.
welcome back to my guest, dr. komaki with the radiation oncology department at the university of texas. we clengs men we mentioned you grew up in hiroshima. how old were you when the atomic bomb dropped? >> i was 2 years old. >> given what you remember then and given what's happening today here at these multiple nuclear reactors at the fukushima
daiichi plant, what can people who live nearby potentially expect? >> well, i expect because of the seize yum leakage, the half-life is 30 years. that means if anybody who will drink the water or maybe contaminate the vegetables, if they eat -- and also from chernobyl, the sezium was on the grass that was eaten by the cows and by drinking the milk from the cows, the children or babies, they developed thyroid cancer. that's what i am very concerned about the babies and the children who are growing up in the area. they have to be maybe evacuated from far away. >> who are still as you said
developing. i also just wanted to ask a little bit more on a personal note. you know, my very best girlfriend is from japan, she was born in sendai. she was texting with me this morning. she shared a phrase with me today, she says it's a phrase the prime minister is using with people there. it's re sey. what does that mean in japanese and how might that be resonateding with those in that area? >> it means come down. it means just do not get upset. just calm down. that's what it means. but, you know, at this time -- >> do you think that's something people can do right now? >> yes. they kept saying when i was in japan, when the earthquake hit, i was actually in japan, and the officers and those people kept telling all the citizens, you
know, calm down, just don't get upset. but i think they have to move something very quickly. otherwise -- my concern is the real, the hydrogen, it might explode. almost like atomic bomb. >> it's so serious. we're all watching. dr. komaki, i appreciate it. the world turning its attention to japan, still libya, the libyan government taking back control of the eastern part of libya. town by town. there are more reports of air strikes. we'll have a live report, getting the latest there, next.
y you. moammar gadhafi forces rolling back the opposition across libya. they're grabbing control of key cities, more cities now. as they move eastward toward the rebel stronghold of benghazi. in ajdabiya, the fight is getting intense and the rebels are now looking for some help. here is arwa damon. >> reporter: the opposition forces are struggling now to keep pro-gadhafi troops from
pushing into the city of ajdabiya. we have seen round s landing inside the city's outer perimeter. we have seen the opposition firing back, using surface-to-air artillery. we've seen them using a barrage of mortar fire. there are also reports of air strikes happening overnight and in the morning. we saw one aircraft overhead. it did not fire, not while we were here, not entirely sure if it was trying to gauge the opposition's position. this is proving to be a much tougher battle than anyone had anticipated. this city, key territory. should the pro-gadhafi elements be able to push in here, the concern is that this could potentially turn into a bloodbath. we've just seen a creeping barrage of incoming artillery fire forcing the opposition to withdraw further into the heart of the city of ajdabiya. this is going to be a key and
decisive battle if gadhafi's troops continue to be able to push forward in this way. when it is going to end, how long the opposition can hold on at this point is not at all clear. all of the fighters only have one question at this point, and that is, where is the no-fly zone? they're asking asking that of t united states. they are asking that of the united nations. the concern is that as these pro-gadhafi elements gain even more ground, if colonel gadhafi should somehow hold on to power, he's not a man known to have mercy on those who oppose him. >> and now i want to bring in arwa damon live in eastern libya. arwa, as you talk about the potential bloodbath, if the gadhafi forces, if they push past ajdabiya, if they potentially take the rebel stronghold of benghazi, i mean, that would be a significant blow to this opposition movement, would it not? >> reporter: brooke, it would be absolutely devastating. that is, of course, everyone's
concern. a few interesting developments to update you on. we just came out of a press conference that was carried out by the military spokesman for the opposition. he was saying that after that heavy bombardment by pro-gadhafi elements in the city of ajdabiya, a small unit of pro-gadhafi troops did manage to breach the city from the western part. they are saying that they were, however, driven out by opposition forces who now maintain control of the city itself. according to the opposition, gadhafi's troops remain on the outskirts, and it appears the opposition, according to them, they have deployed a number of air assets. they are saying they used air assets to bombard gadhafi troops forward moving. they are saying they deployed naval assets to attack three oil tankers that gadhafi they are saying was used to go strike at opposition strongholds, saying that they managed to sink two of the oil tankers that gadhafi had actually convert into warships.
the third they claim was rendered inoperable. they are also saying they managed to capture an oil tanker registered to gadhafi's son hannibal that's said to be carrying 25,000 tons of fuel. they are highlighting the fact though that the capability do remain minimal, and they are stressing the neath need for that no-fly zone, still calling on the international community, the united states to step up. brooke. >> well, arwa, there's still no word on the no-fly zone, and as you know, as you've been reporting, some of the members of the opposition movement. they are young. some of them are running out of ammunition. how do they maintain momentum going forward here? >> reporter: you know, brooke, you go up to the front lines and you see them cheering, and you see them victorious. you see the air bombardments coming in, the heavy artillery coming in. you see them moving back very rapidly, very chaotic, and yet they do say that they have high morale. the critical thing here is as
they do state, this is a fight to the death because at the end of the day they say they don't have a choice. they cannot afford to be captured by gadhafi's forces who they do believe would massacre all of them, and so they will fight this out as long as they need, to but there is a lot of frustration with the speed that this is taking. on friday, for example, we were down at friday prayers where we saw a passionate plea to the heavens for help, many holding up signs for france for its support of the recognition of the newly formed national council that is heading up the opposition government on an interim basis, wondering when they would be able to thank the united states, and they are really looking for that international backing because they do realize that they have taken this fight to a certain level. they are concerned about how far they can take it past this point. if in fact they have reached the maximum of their own capabilities. >> well, those are powerful words, arwa, that these people feel that they have no other
choice. arwa damon, live in libya. arwa, thank you. now listen to this. >> it looks like -- literally like a bomb has gone off around here. >> that is an american who captured the tsunami and its immediate aftermath there on camera. the image he says still haunts him. that is coming up. also, secretary of state hillary clinton has just met with the foreign minister of egypt in cairo. wolf blitzer traveling right along with her. he's left paris and is now in cairo. he'll join me next. anncr:ne oe le oher old hearing aid. she'sy
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you know, secretary of state hillary clinton is on a mission right now to promote democracy, and with those waves of change rolling from egypt and libya and tunisia, it is a crucial, crucial challenge, and our own wolf blitzer is traveling right along with her. wolf, i want to ask you about what the secretary, who she is meeting with today in cairo, but i'm also curious, your personal impressions. were you driving through egypt, tahrir square. what were your impressions today? is. >> reporter: fascinating to see what's going on in egypt, still a work in progress and the final outcome, as you know, brooke, is not a done deal. everyone is hoping that the democratic movement succeeds. there are still a lot of roadblocks on the way and even within the past hour i've been here in cairo. we heard gunshots. there were some disturbances going -- going on not very far from where we were involving coptic christian protesters and
the authorities came in to remove them. there are some serious tensions going on between egyptian christians, the cops and other egyptians and secretary of state hillary clinton is here, she's meeting with the new egyptian leadership, the post-mubarak leadership, and there's a lot of work that has to be done to make sure that what started here only a few weeks ago really results in free and fair elections in the coming months and a new egypt, if you will. it's still very much, brooke, a work in progress. driving around the city it's jammed. cars all over the place. people all over the place, but we were stopped a couple of times by the egyptian military. they didn't like the fact that our photographer was taking pictures. at one point they were ready to start confiscating cameras and stuff like that, so there are still problems, to be sure. we resolved it all fine. everything worked out okay in the end, but it's still by no means, you know, as smooth as it should be, let's put it that way? so still issues with foreign
journalists there, and we know you're not finished in egypt. you're going next to tunisia when we talked about tunisia three or so months ago when the movement there. the secretary is meeting with new leadership there and also meeting with some bloggers, social media. why is that important for her? >> because so much of this unrest, so much of this movement that started three months ago in tunisia resulted from the social media sites, the social network sites, the facebook, the twitter, and -- and especially in tunisia. it really got going, and she wants to meet with them. she wants to make sure that the next generation, people in their 20s, their 30s, that they are all -- that they understand that the united states is a partner with these countries, with this movement for democracy, and the united states is going to be there to help in any ways the u.s. can. now will say this, brooke, hovering over all of this, the positive developments here in
egypt, positive developments in tunisia, there's still a huge nightmare scenario for the u.s. and a lot of other countries unfolding in libya right now. you were just talking about it with arwa damon, and in bahrain for that matter, too. it's a real sensitive moment and the secretary of state is not happy that saudi arabia and the united arab emirates have actually sent ground forces into bahrain to help the besieged king there in the face of the disturbances, the protest movement there, so this is still a lot of issues going on over here. forget about all the long-time simmering issues in the middle east involving iran, the israelis, palestinians, lebanon, syria, you can go on and on and. there have been slight improvements, but as you know there's a long, long way to go before this region is peaceful and democratic and productive and prosperous and entering the new age, if you will. >> what a special opportunity for you to be able to travel along with the secretary of state and experience it firsthand. your expertise and your passion, appreciate t.woit.
wolf blitzer, see you at the top of the hour in "the situation room." now, watch this. another earthquake rocks japan, and now brand new radiation fears are sending people far from the nuclear plants including our own correspondents. i'm brooke baldwin. the news is now. the earthquake strikes and then the tsunami. now survivors are facing even more challenges. freezing temperatures, heavy rain and the threat of mud slides. the red cross says it is stretched to the max. we'll take you there live. plus, fears grow over the nuclear prices. thousands are being evacuated, choppers and crews are band as crews race to avoid a catastrophic meltdown. here at home, panic on wall street. the dow plunges more than 200 points in a matter of minutes. how long could those fears last?
welcome back. i'm brooke baldwin. it's now wednesday morning in japan, and aftershocks are still rattling survivors, but the biggest concern right now is the threat of meltdown at fukushima daiichi nuclear power plant. the radiation levels are fluctuating after trouble with multiple reactors there. the japanese government ordering commercial jets to steer clear now of the airspace right around that nuclear plant, and that, keep in mind, covers about a 20-mile radius. we're told the no-fly zone will keep planes from then spreading radiation. we'll get to all of that in just a moment. but first, you know, as if nerves aren't rattled enough by these aftershocks after aftershocks that continue to rumble in japan, there was another earthquake today. did you hear about this one? this quake measured 6.0. it struck shizuoka prefecture. that is mt. fuji volcano is located. this quake, can you see all the movement there.
signs shaking, buildings shaking in tokyo 70 miles to the northeast and then in chiba city people are standing in long, long lines outside of the supermarkets. in fact, one store only letting a few people in at a time and another video from chiba city to show you. take a look at what was a road. >> this is the other end of the road that i just videos. you can see the damage. >> look at that. cracks up and down as far as eye can see, and we are still getting incredible pictures and images and i-reports from the moment friday's earthquake hit. in fact, take a look at building just swaying back and forth in tokyo.
that would stop me in my tracks if i was looking at that from the grund and now this. look at this picture. do you see that in the middle of the sea captured by the crew on board the aircraft carrier "uss ronald reagan". that is a lone house adrift at sea in the pass fifnlgt amazing images there. the destruction in some towns. it is so devastating. few people who witnessed the quake lived to tell about it and cnn's thelma gutierrez caught up with a man who recorded his dramatic escape from that disaster zone. watch this with me. >> reporter: it took him three days to get out. >> looks literally like a bomb has gone off around here. >> reporter: when brian barnes landed in los angeles. >> welcome home. >> thank you. >> reporter: the florida native showed us what he went through? how did this town fare? >> there's nothing left. >> reporter: all these people who are walking around. >> probably dead. >> reporter: barnes and a team of environmental activists were at the suichi harbor to monitor
a porpoise hunt for save the dolphin when the 8.9 earthquake hit. it was a split-second decision to drive through the town, past stunned residents, up a hill 50 feet above a harbor. >> there's a hill outside of town we're trying to get to. he grabbed his camera and seven minutes after the ground shook the first surge of water. >> here it comes. >> then minutes later a wall of water slammed through the town, taking everything in its path. >> about 1:00 in the afternoon, and we spent the whole day trying to get out of the tsunami area. we took shelter up on a hill, and everything between that hill and several miles to anything that even resembles civilization at this point was completely destroyed. >> reporter: after the tsunami barnes says he saw maybe a dozen survivors as he walked through
town. >> there are several dead bodies behind us that a couple of villagers there had covered up. >> reporter: barnes took pictures of the dead who are recognizable in the hopes that one day the missing might be identified. and he's still haunted by the screams of a woman floating on a piece of wood in a sea of debris, a victim he couldn't save. >> she was in my mind sort of a representative of what was happening. >> reporter: barnes says he and the team were lucky they were able to leave with their lives, but they won't forget what they left behind. thelma gutierrez, cnn, los angeles. >> also just in here, let's take a look at the big board. the numbers not looking good. the dow is down some 137 points at 11,855. folks, that is not pretty, and at one point today the dow plunged nearly 300 points. allison cosic has been watching all the numbers for us and joins us live in new york. alison, not just here in the united states. we know markets all around the
world are dropping. >> oh, yeah. we saw this overnight. we saw this today. as far as the u.s. markets go, brooke, sure the dow clawed its way back from being down 300 points to end down only 137 points. hey, we'll take it, but we didn't see the same clawing its way back with the nikkei. check this out, nikkei fell almost 11%. markets in asia down 1% to 3%. it was a really, really rough day and here's what's rattled investors. the third nuclear reactor exploded in japan setting investors off. of course, japan's prime minister warning that the risk of a radioactive leak is very high. of course, that's very jarring to investors so to some degree what you saw today was a degree of panicked selling with investors worried that this could become a global issue, brooke. >> how concerned, alison, how concerned should the average american be over these numbers? >> you know what? i think they should really be concerned because there's so much uncertainty. you know, japan's economy, it
was already in trouble before the earthquake hit, and now the worry is that it could slide back into recession. you know, remember this. japan is still the world's third biggest economy, and we're still in recovery mode as far as the economy goes so the worry is that this could create a domino effect in japan's economy goes down and that's why we're seeing the markets react the way they are. i think the realization came today that japan is actually a bigger player than everyone first realized when the earthquake first struck. brooke. >> alison, thanks. you know, you just mentioned something pretty important as we're watching this unfolding, fear of nuclear reactors, possible meltdowns. one of the most dangerous aspects of the story at the moment is how much radiation is actually spreading in japan and how harmful are the levels? coming up, we'll hear the panic of not knowing and also how our reporters, anderson, sanjay, soledad, gary, all being forced to leave certain areas for their own safety. plus, a word that more americans
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board an american helicopter have once again been exposed to low levels, low levels of radiation. a navy spokesperson is warning that it will happen again. he also says it is one of the most challenging humanitarian operations in history. and now let's reset the picture at that nuclear site. so we have today this explosion. look at this map here. that explosion happening at reactor number two, and fears of possible damage to the protective dome surrounding the highly radioactive core. they call that the containment vessel. also, a fire broke out at reactor number four which was closed, by the way, for maintenance at the time of last week's tsunami. back with us again, so grateful to have you, robert alvarez, at the institute of policy studies in washington. let's pick up where we left off and that was with the small team of workers. i was reading something like 50 or so workers here at this plant essentially, from what i understand, trying to bring the multiple crises under control. to what extent are these brave
souls risking their lives in there? >> well, i think the workers at this site are involved in a heroic endeavor because there is at least fragmentary evidence that in some places on this site there are life-threatening doses of radiation. so, i mean, i think they are doing enormously heroic work. >> robert, what is worst case scenario there right now? >> well, i can't -- it's hard to say. i think the worst case scenario would be the catastrophic release of radiation into the environment that would spread over the populated areas. >> which -- which would be -- >> i'm sorry? >> which would mean how many people would be affected? is that too much to ask you to guess. >> i mean, it's hard to say. it would depend on how -- how
heavy the contamination is, what the weather patterns are and whether or not a large heavily contaminated plume or plumes would drift over other population centers in japan. >> in this case, the trigger point for this particular crisis, you know, the earthquake and than the tsunami and people say here in the united states, bringing this home, people say we don't have tsunamis here in the u.s., but is there a universe of other trigger points, let's call them, that could lead to something at all similar here? >> well, i think it raised enough concern that we really have to seriously reconsider the advisability of having reactors in earthquake-prone areas, and we really have to examine whether or not those reactors right now are safe and secure,
and i have really come to the opinion that there are some reactors, particularly the two in california along seismically active zones, that they should not allow to have their license extended. those reactors i think should be phased out. >> before we let you go and take this back out to the broader view of japan, and you're the expert here. you tell me, we're watching fires and explosions and mentioned last hour the spent rods that are perhaps still a little too hot. what are you watching for? what could be the next worst thing? >> well, i'm watching to see if all the workers are suddenly evacuated from the site. i'm watching to see if any announcements have been made about the failure of the
containment, both the reactor vessels and the secondary containment from the japanese authorities. >> so if all the workers are asked to leave, what does that tell you? >> well, it tells me that they have given up, and they are hoping for the best and that we -- we have a very significant chance of a serious radiologic catastrophe. >> it is a serious, serious situation there in japan. robert alvarez, thank you for loaning us a little bit of your expertise. thank you so much. >> thank you. >> and now, to this. >> the volume of water was so high, the car wouldn't move. >> he was describing the moments after the massive wave of water hit, moments of sheer panic. coming up, new stories of survival that we're just now hearing and some are still looking for loved ones. and happening right now, a
ever. they are estimating some $100 billion in damage there. also, disney announcing it has donated more than $2 million to the red cross. the company says it will also match employee donations. and in the days since this earthquake and tsunami, we have marvelled at the japanese, the fortitude. we've watched in horror their immeasurable tragedy, and, unfortunately, at this point the sad scenes outnumber the triumphant happier ones. hala gorani is here with i'm afraid some tough news. >> yes. cnn international, of course, all day we've been covering the aftermath of the earthquake and the tsunami. >> of course. >> and some of the stories that have come out of japan on the national broadcaster nhk, some of our japanese affiliates, are just heartbreaking and people who are looking for their loved ones because they are hoping that perhaps their loved ones don't have a phone, a computer. >> that's why they are not responding. >> unfortunately, in some cases it's because they are lost their life. the latest figures we have,
3,400 confirmed killed. 6,700 missing. can you do the math quickly. we're looking at least 10,000 people killed or missing. 450,000 in shelters, and one story touched me particularly today. an elderly man, couldn't hold on to his wife's hand in the raging waters. he describes his ordeal. listen. >> translator: my wife is physically handicapped. we wanted to run away to the back. the volume of water was so high. the car wouldn't move. my daughter and i tried our hardest to push her up to this hi hill. the water level went up so high so quickly. she was so heavy, i let go of her hand. i think this is the area where it happened. i am thinking that i might have
closure if i keep sitting here. >> well, unfortunately, we learned that this man's wife passed away. her body was found shortly after he spoke there to television crews, and, brooke, i'm sure you've seen these message boards in the shelters. >> so organized. >> and it just reminds me a little bit of 9/11 where people didn't know where their loved ones were. >> i'm here, i'm okay. >> so they were putting the names at that time of their loved ones hoping to hear from them, and then we're hearing that many japanese in similar situations, where they don't know if their loved ones or relatives have survived and doing the same and hoping to have that name crossed out, hoping that person was found. >> hoping he finds his closure and chilling to listen to that interview and the other story percolating again. talked about bahrain several weeks ago and now it's back, the home of the u.s. navy's fifth fleet. what's happening now? >> a lot is happening in bahrain. two protesters were killed in clashes. we're hearing reports that a bahrainy police officer was
killed. unconfirmed reports, unconfirmed from the saudi soldier, that a saudi soldier was killed. bahrain has asked for foreign troops to come and stabilize the situation, the gulf council troops including saudis. the unrest comes a lot from the shiite majority. saudi arabia has a sizable shiite minority. they don't want this kind of unrest at their doorstep in bahrain, so the king has announced a three-month state of emergency, three months, so they are not kidding around in bahrain. they don't want this to continue, and this is what's going on right now today. once again in sitra, we've seen clashes with several dead and 150 injured. this is not going away. bahrain is continuing to see unrest, and it's difficult to have visibility on how all of this will end because the chances of dialogue for the opponents to the regime, those who want reform, and the government seems slimmer today than just a few days ago.
>> amazing the entire wave in the middle east. we've covered it for years. hala gorani, thank you very much. >> here we go, middle east. let's talk libya. the regime launching new air strikes over its people and the question is this. is the opposition losing steam? we'll take you there live to libya. also this. >> this is no way to run a government. lurching back and forth like a drunken sailor. >> they left the american people in this country with this pile of crap. >> well, republicans and democrats, folks, obviously not holding back. the clock is ticking. the u.s. government is scheduled to shut down in a couple of days. are they close to a deal? brianna keilar has some new developments. that is next.
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omnaris. ask your doctor. battling nasal allergy symptoms? omnaris combats the cause. get omnaris for only $11 at omnaris.com. opposition forces in libya say they have made some big gains in one key city. also, the clock is ticking for congress to keep the u.s. government going, and how donations work for japan. time to play "reporter roulette." first though, live to libya, to arwa damon. arwa, i know you have new details about rebels claiming a major pushback against gadhafi forces in eastern libya. what are you seeing today? >> reporter: well, brooke, what we saw earlier today was the heavy bombardment, artillery bombardment of the city of ajdabiya. it was in fact at one point breached by pro-gadhafi forces. however, they are saying that
they did manage to push them back, that pro-gadhafi forces do remain on the outskirts of ajdabiya, the city critical because of its location, 160 kilometers west of the stronghold of benghazi. they are also saying that they managed to deploy air and naval assets using air assets, a number of which are undisclosed to target pro-gadhafi military positions, naval assets to, in fact, they are saying sink two oil tankers that gadhafi managed to convert into warships and render a third one inoperable. we do know that they did manage to capture some of these assets as they took over. the east, the full capability at this point, not entirely clear, but opposition after initially seeing the heavy bombardment in the morning, now feeling fairly confident as they move forward. brooke? >> i know that you're saying that some of the rebels are using some planes which i'm
going to guess can't even compare to what the gadhafi forces have in their arsenal, but why are they still calling for this no-fly zone? >> reporter: brooke, that is exactly correct. it does not compare to anything that gadhafi has at his disposal. they did consistently highlight and underscore the fact that what they have is minimal assets saying that they have really been pushed to deploying them, clearly in terms of self-defense. they still strongly, almost desperately feel as if the no-fly zone would at least even the battlefield. we've been hearing them calling for it from day one saying it's an absolute necessity to prevent gadhafi's ongoing bombardment of civilian areas, and they are increasingly frustrated at the length that this is even taking to come about. on friday we saw a level of optimism after france acknowledged the legitimacy of the newly formed national council, basically the opposition interim government and it's support for a no-fly
zone. people were coming up to us and asking when are we going to be able to say thank to you america support? is america, the international community, simply waiting for gadhafi to exhaust us, exhaust our resources, commit a bloodbath before they are going to step in and take charge in the opposition really feeling as if they have taken, are taking it as far as they can, but it is the international community's responsibility to help them carry it further. otherwise, many of them say the blood that is shed will be as much the responsibility of global leaders as it would be on the hands of gadhafi himself. brooke? >> or with a damon live in libya. my thanks to you. next on "reporter roulette," congress is debating whether to keep the u.s. government running things. people getting testy and colorful on capitol hill. brianna keilar covering it all for us. brianna, give me the latest. >> reporter: well, brooke, this just passed in the house, a sort of short-term spending measure to fund the government for three weeks.
republicans are starting to peel off. two weeks ago when the house passed a measure that keeps the government going until friday, you can six republicans voting no. today on a measure that would add those three weeks to the clock you had 54 republicans voting against this, so, you know, that's pretty significant when you think about the increase and, in fact, house republicans wouldn't have been able to pass this if they didn't have the help of house democrats, brooke. >> you mentioned the republicans are peeling off so the conundrum perhaps for the republican leaders is supported by the new poll that's just released by cnn. it appears it's hard to please all of their supporters in this case, is that right? >> reporter: it is hard for them to please all of their supporters, and in short when you look at the numbers it shows you this. when you ask americans is a government shutdown bad for the country, you have more americans saying yes, it is. you ask republicans, they are roughly split. if you say to them hypothetically it is not just a few days of a shut dunne, it drags on for a few weeks, then you have a majority of
republicans saying, okay, that's not a good thing. ask tea party conservatives and they actually think it's a good thing for the government, so you can see that it's difficult for republicans as they sort of weigh the opinions of their constituents, but when you listen to the leaders, brooke, house speaker john boehner, the republican leader in the senate mitch mcconnell, they say there is not going to be a government shutdown and they are trying to make it clear that they don't support that at all. >> okay. my thanks to you. next on "reporter roulette," a look at how people are making donations to the people of japan. dan simon joins us. dan, seeing all sorts of people coming forward but now the tech world is coming forward. how so? >> reporter: we're in texas where some of the greatest minds in the world of technology are in austin and right when they got here the earthquake happened. they got together to try to help out victims in japan and through social networking in a very significant way, they are driving a lot of the traffic that you're seeing as far as the funds being raised, going to
facebook, going to twitter and donating and really, you know, in a major way. >> is there any concern, dan, maybe a double-edged sword here to charitable giving through social networking? >> reporter: you know, there is, and what we're seeing is the number of people giving money at this stage of the event is really unprecedented, but the dollar amount is smaller than in previous disasters, and one of the operating theories is when you go to your cell phone and text an amount, $5, $10, you might be less likely to write that $50 or $200 check later on so that's one of the things the charities will be looking out. see how it unfolds. maybe a little bit of a double-edged sword when it comes to donating through social networking. >> dan simon in austin at southwest by southwest. thank you. developing right now, cocaine. found at kennedy space center. that is ahead. plus, general david petraeus speaks out about the war in afghanistan, and he's telling congress whether the plan to
if it's interesting and happening right now, you are about to see it. "ross perot fire." let's begin with this. the target date for the draw dawn of troops in afghanistan is still this july. that is according to general david petraeus, commander of those forces. he sold a senate armed services committee the taliban momentum
has been slowed, but the security progress is, and i'm quoting, fragile and reversible. petraeus adds the u.s. mission would be hampered by june unless congress approves a long-term budget. happening right now. our last world war i veteran is being laid to rest there at arlington national cemetery. frank buckles was 110 years old when he died last month. president obama and vice president joe biden both there, both paying their respects today with so many others. buckles is being laid to rest with full military honors. by the way, he enlisted in the army when we was just 16 years of age after lying about his age. keeping you up to date on a story we've been following very, very closely here on this show. at alleged gang rape of an 11-year-old boy by 18 men and boys in this filthy mobile home, there it is in cleveland, texas. well, prosecutors are in court today, and they are asking a judge to stop everyone involved from talking to reporters about this case. the district attorney says the
gag order is necessary because there's been so much publicity about this investigation he's afraid it could make it impossible to find an impartial jury. want to take you back to last october. told you the story. a notre dame story died after a lift he was standing on toppled over in high wind. well, today the state of indiana announced it is holding the school responsible for the student's death and fined the university more than $77,000. the 20-year-old student was up there videotaping football practice when the winds blew that lift over. to kennedy space center where police say cocaine was found on site. nasa says it has a zero tolerance drug policy and employees are tested randomly. this news comes 24 hours now after a worker died there after falling from a launchpad. an investigation is under way. and finally to boise, idaho. i cannot get enough of scenes like this. watch this. >> hey, sweetie. >> hey, daddy.
>> welcome back. >> daddy is home. another military family is reunited. dad tyler stansell spent a year in afghanistan. he and his wife kristi spent a couple of weeks coming up with the whole scheme to surprise this 9-year-old daughter tyler at school, and as can you see, they pulled it off pretty well. >> very excited and almost like it's a dream. >> nothing makes me happier than to have the whole family home together again. >> love it. big tyler brought little tyler home a necklace. you can put it on her and you can bet she's not taking that off any time soon. in japan, a look at what our reporters are seeing on the street. they are seeing a child's doll, an empty shoe, wedding pictures covered in mud. coming up next, an i-reporter shows us how people are getting food, and what happens after the markets turn them away. a governor's press secretary has lost his jobs for comments
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despite all the hardship and uncertainty in japan, this is something that endures, a sense of order. i've seen video shot just yesterday by one of our viewers who lives in sendai, and even though this neighborhood you're about to see is some 12 miles from the tsunami zone, people there are lining up for hours to buy the basics you and i take
for granted. watch this with me. >> at the beginning of the line here. i'm behind the scene so i don't know if they will like me being here. i'm going to show you what this looks like. this is the store where they collect all the money, and it's pretty organized. one. things i like about japan is that the people are so, you know, organized, and they have high sense of morals. nobody breaks into things. not nobody, but in this part of the town it's very organized, and it works like a clock. they have taken their products outside, and they have things in baskets and the people have made the line and they go through the line, and they are coming around like that choosing what they need.
>> hi, hi, hi. so i asked her if there is a limit to what they can buy and how many things they can buy. they said you can spend as much as you want and spend as much money as you want. she said once all these products are gone, there are no others. they will be sold out. he hasn't even declared that he is running for president yet, but the intense scrutiny of possible presidential candidate haley barbour has claimed a bit of an early casualty. joe johns, our go-to-d.c. political veteran has the scoop. >> people in d.c. are saying welcome to the nfl and haley barbour and the people who work for him. not even in the game yet as press secretary dan turner is out and barbour has a new
secretary. turner's transgression was off-color jokes ending up in the hands of politico, which printed them, of course. one joke about japan is the thing that did him in. turner, according to politico wrote in an e-mail that said, quote, otis redding posthumously received a gold record for his single "sittin on the dock of the bay." not a big hit in japan right now. probably not a good time for earthquake jokes at the moment. there is another e-mail apparently that was in this batch writing about former attorney general janet reno who served during the clinton administration. quote, it took longer to confirm her gender than to confirm her law license, so you get the picture. >> so obviously none too sensitive. nevertheless, these were e-mails. how did politico or whoever it was initially, how did they get their hands on the story? how did this guy get busted? >> brooke, you know, you've been around washington. a lot of public relations
operations, especially for politicians always put together a book of news clips every day so it's easy for people to read in, stay current without having to scour 25 newspapers, and apparently there was some kind of news clips e-mails that went around attached to this and had the jokes on it. barbour, who really is one of the smartest republican strategists, doesn't get to see the e-mail with the jokes on it. he just gets the hard copy of the clips, but when he finds out about it, turner is out. >> yeah. we can see sort of why, can't we? >> yeah. >> speaking of republican governors getting big-time scrutiny. let's talk about john kasich of ohio. had him on the show a couple of weeks ago. what's the update here? >> right, well, we reported yesterday about him trying to roll out his budget, and the question is whether it's time to start calling him governor sunshine or not. the deal is that originally he said he was going to roll out
his budget which was going to be very controversial in all likelihood without any cameras or microphones there, just a pad and pencil thing for reporters. >> right. >> and after this thing hit everybody from the reporters to the aclu, a bunch of other organizations, all sort of piling on because this is supposed to be sunshine week when we're celebrating transparency and openness in government. >> was he allowing cameras? >> turned around and allowed cameras in because he got a lot on this thing and the other thing about kasich, back around his inauguration, tried to keep the cameras out, or so there were reports. he's on the radar now. >> it's the state budget. people might want to take some notes and see it on television. joe johns, just like magic, it happens. some celebrities are helping out and holding benefits for the survivors in japan including
comedian tommy davidson, actually in japan oddly enough two days before the quake hit. we'll get his story and talk about what's going on with you next. a full team of experts who work to understand your goals and help you achieve them. as one of the nation's largest wealth managers, northern trust's goals-based investment strategies are tailored to your needs. ♪ and overseen by experts who seek to maximize opportunities while minimizing risk. ♪ expertise matters. find it at northern trust.
southern california, specifically los angeles, the home to one of the largest japanese-american communities in the united states, and if you haven't also heard, there is a couple of showbiz types there as well. tonight at the laugh factory in los angeles, they will have an all-star lineup of comedians who will be raising money to go directly to japan. one of those comedians, here he is, tommy davidson. he'll be performing tonight. tommy, let me get this straight. i know you've been to japan multiple times, but you were there two days of that earthquake hit. >> yeah. we were there two days. before that i was performing at okinawa as one of the military installations there, and we were on our way to germany to do the next show and we heard about it so we realized we had just escaped the tragedy and felt very fortunate about it, too. >> wow, so many others not as fortunate, so you're doing this stand up for japan show tonight. whose idea was it? why did you get involved? >> jamie masada over at the
laugh factory is always doing good things for people, and he knows i'm one of the pieces of talent that likes to help, no matter what. this became ideal for me because i've visited japan for so many years. not only the military installations but going there as a visitor and have been embraced by that culture so much and seeing how much harmony they have socially and the lessons that they can teach us, and also the very, very american, too, because of our japanese-americans here, so it just felt like the right thing to do, and i'm always out to do that, and as an entertainer, that's what i get a chance to do, not just movies and tv and not just travel, but actually get a chance to make a difference when it really counts. >> given the fact that it sounds like you have quite a connection with japan and those who are there. and the fact that you were there just before the earthquake. are you writing the material just for tonight? >> no. i'm going to stick to the act that i have. i'm going to leave that as not as a laughing matter but
something that we're doing one of god's gifts and giving what we, have you know, and that's the goal. >> getting people to laugh. i don't know if you've heard, but there have been several celebrities out there criticized for being incensensitive to thi disaster, gilbert gottfried, fifty cent, what do you think of that? >> there's comedy relief in tragedy and i know both of them as professionals so i don't judge them. the part that's left out for me is we can joke about things, but then what do we do about it, you know? where do we make a difference? people joked about the civil rights movement. people joked about a lot of things but it wasn't until our society took social responsibility, both whites and blacks, and changed our society, south africa, across the board, anywhere. >> well, for people in l.a. or nearby, want to get this out
once again. stand up for japan at the laugh factory tonight in los angeles. real quickly, tommy, where can people call to give? >> they can call to give at 1-800-red-cross. >> got it. >> and they can also text. >> 90999 to make a $10 donation to the red cross. tommy, enjoy it tonight. make 'em laugh. >> thank you so much. we're going to have a lot of fun and god bless to them. >> thank you, and also wanted to let you know that "star trek" fans, remember this face? >> george takei known as mr mr. sulu on the series, he'll be joining my colleague ali velshi in the 1:00 hour of newsroom tomorrow to explain the japanese term called gamon, fortitude and dignity. he'll be with ali tomorrow. don't miss it. 1:00 eastern on cnn. coming up here, we have shown you many of them in our show today, and actually we show
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videos to our cnn audience by establishing the first ever cnn i-report award so today at the south by southwest festival down in austin, texas, cnn proudly announced the winner. you'll meet her in just a moment but first let's watch her award-winning entry together. >> my name is samantha bolton and i'm standing here in southern laos, the most heavily cluster-bombed country in the world. this area should be a beautiful green rice paddy field but it isn't because 40 years after the vietnam war this place is littered with cluster bombs. it is estimated that there are still around 80 million unexploded bomblets in laos. the government and ngos are working hard to clear the land.
>> that is just the first part of her i-report. can you go to i-report.com to see the whole thing in its entirety and there she is, samantha bolton. joining me from far, far away in geneva, switzerland. samantha, obviously, first and foremost, congratulations to you. >> thanks. >> i watched the whole video today online, and what struck me is the number you said. you said there's an estimated 80 million unexploded bomblets in laos. were you nervous at all standing in those fields when you filed that i-report? >> yeah. i mean, you can't even imagine it. the place is literally littered with the bomblets and they are the size of a golf ball and they look like little walks and when you're walking around it's almost like you want to kick them and obviously you can't because that's how people get blown up. people, these communities are living and the kids are playing among them, and, of course, it's